Every so often a leading musician comes along who has lavished so much love, time, and study in the work of one composer – or even in one work of music – that historic performances result. I’ve only attended a handful of performances that belong in that category. No wonder, they don’t come along very often. I saw an elderly Karl Böhm conduct Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten at the Metropolitan Opera – a performance that embodied a lifetime of experience and inquiry into that work. I also attended a recital of Schumann Lieder given by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau at the Salzburg Festival. I can only think of a few other concerts I’ve seen that fell into that high echelon of music making. There was John Browning playing Samuel Barber’s Piano Sonata and Nicolai Gedda singing Gounod’s Faust. As I say, just a few.

I’m writing today to let you know that you have the opportunity to attend a concert that will likely be of that historical nature, when John Nelson conducts Bach’s St. Matthew Passion at the Harris Theater in Chicago on April 11th, 2014 at 7:30 P.M. Since beginning his international conducting career in the 1970s, Maestro Nelson
has returned to this work time and time again. Among his early performances was one with the Orchestra of Saint Luke’s in Carnegie Hall back April, 1985. The insights he has gained over the years are showcased in a DVD documentary, “John Nelson’s Saint Matthew Passion: The Journey,” which is bundled with a beautiful DVD performance of Maestro Nelson performing the St. Matthew in the Basilica Cathedral of Saint-Denis in France.

That two-DVD set is available from Solo Deo Gloria, (CLICK HERE to learn about ordering) which is also presenting the Chicago concert under the banner of its Chicago Bach Project. Solo Deo Gloria (“To God Alone Be the Glory”) is a fascinating organization that was founded in 1993 by John Nelson and philanthropist Dr. Richard G. Gieser. Their goal was to both commission new works of religious music and to perform existing works. Over the last 21 years Solo Deo Gloria has fulfilled that mission admirably, through performances and commissions of new religious works by Aaron Jay Kernis, James MacMillan, Christopher Rouse, Yehudi Wyner, and other notable composers. 

To learn more or order tickets to the concert on April 11th, CLICK HERE. Or call the Harris Theater box office at (312) 334-7777.

And if you need a little nudge before you order your seats, why not watch this excerpt from John Nelson’s St. Matthew Passion DVD. It ought to convince you that you’re about to see a very special performance in Chicago.